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Service Learning and Community Partnerships
Service learning is a form of study where the learners are given an opportunity to enhance forth the practical aspects of their studies and more on the theoretical frameworks (Battistoni, 2017). It helps the students understand the problems faced by the society in which they are submerged. It can therefore be described as a process in which the learners advocate for the community challenges using the emic perspective. The community or society in which they are based serves as the sole laboratory and they takes the advantage of studying the society with reference to their social-cultural practices and behavioural patterns. The other benefit of such approach is that it helps the students appreciate both the class work and theories and the society where can they can seek to relate the two and hence improving their understanding of their studies. Among the challenges the students may face as service learners include limited sources of finance especially in instances where travel is required (Battistoni, 2017). The society may have some great expectations from an institution including the improvement of infrastructure. Such expectations can only be met by the institution as part of corporate social responsibility (CSR). The members of the community may expect funds from the students therefore thwarting the learner-community relationship.
The organization as a potential community partner need to utilize its existence in promoting the welfare of the community a practice that is more than the corporate social responsibility since it is characterized by offering of goods and services (Bringle et al, 2016). The organization also has a strong partnership or trade ties with transport industry and the manufacturing sector. These two bodies operate as a single unit where the university from which I work acquires goods including stationeries from the manufactures via the transport industry. Supply institutions also maintains the relationship with the university since they tenders goods from the producers for university consumption through them. Among the past institutions or organizations that used to partner with the university and are no longer working together include structural engineers who served as the watchdogs for the institutions infrastructures. Their partnerships ended due to the increment in finance quotation that is extremely higher than the usual costs the university used to pay. Other organization whose partnership with the institution was terminated by the university is the auditing company. The termination followed the expiry of their tender contract period. The institution had to follow the process stipulated by the university policy manual.
The organization uses the volunteers in areas where there are shortages of staff. Volunteers enhance the reduction of the costs of rendering the services due to reduction in labour force. The difference between volunteering and performing service learning is that volunteering comes with hand in hand experience whereas the latter is conducted in search of experience (Battistoni, 2017). Both of them however work for the good of the society and facilitate the organization-society welfare and extending it to the community in general.
In conclusion, organization partners with the community and other institutions in the fulfilment of the corporate social responsibility. They employ the services of the volunteers as they seek to deliver services in a wide geographical zone and where the organization falls short of workforce (Bringle et al, 2016). The learners meet several challenges in meeting the institutional objectives including the shortage of funds and the social cultural differences as well as the language barriers especially when operating from varying linguistic groups.
Battistoni, R. M. (2017). Civic engagement across the curriculum: A resource book for service-learning faculty in all disciplines. Stylus Publishing, LLC.
Bringle, R. G., Reeb, R. N., Brown, M. A., & Ruiz, A. I. (2016). Service learning in psychology: Enhancing undergraduate education for the public good. Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.